Aug 19, 2019
Average homeowners mow their lawn 30 times a year and spend approximately 4 hours a week on yard work. But the truth is that you don’t have to slave over your lawn in order to keep it healthy. It is actually not about the amount of work, but about how and when you do it. That’s why we’ve put together some lawn care tips that will help you towards achieving that luscious green turf you’ve always desired.
Give it a Good Soaking
Contrary to popular practice, light sprinkling is not the best way to water your lawn - it wets only the grass and soil surface, which actually increases the need for more frequent watering and encourages shallow root growth. In order to develop deep roots that will tap into subsurface water supplies, you should switch to deep watering. There is a simple general rule - lawns require one to two inches of water per week, which needs to be applied at three or four-day intervals. However, this rule can vary drastically depending on soil conditions, type of grass, and temperature. Lawns in sandy soils drain quickly so they’ll need twice as much water, while the ones in slow-draining clay soils will need only half as much. If you live in an area that experiences droughts - or you simply don’t have time for frequent watering - you should go for grass more resilient to drought conditions. Another useful trick is to water early in the morning since less water will be lost to evaporation.
Sharp Mower Blade and the Right Cutting Height
Having the best lawn mower in the world doesn’t mean anything if the blades are not well-maintained, meaning it needs to be sharpened and balanced. This is the only way to make sure it will cut the grass evenly and cleanly. A dull blade will tear and damage the grass so it will become more susceptible to disease, require more nutrients and water to recover, and turn yellow. Unbalanced blades make this even worse, and it can additionally damage the bearings of your lawnmower. In order to maintain a good cutting edge, it’s enough to sharpen and balance it three times a year.
The right cutting height is equally important and it depends on the climate and time of the year. If you live in a cool climate you should use a cutting height of 1 to 1/2 inches for the first mowing of the year - that will remove dead grass, allowing more sunlight to reach the crowns. During the heat of summer, you should raise the blade to two or more inches and you should lower it back to 1 to 1/2 inches for the last cutting of the year. If you live in a warm climate, these heights should be 1/2 inches lower.
Weeds, Thatch & Moss
These are all the pesky items that can prevent grass growth by blocking the nutrients and air from getting to the roots. Weeds can appear literally anywhere and there is a wide variety of types that are common in lawns, where they can grow as flowers or seed heads. Whether you use a hand or a tool, you need to pull the whole weed out, including the roots. Areas with thatch are much easier to recognize since the lack of nutrients causes dead and dull patches on the lawn and the ground gets a spongy feel. It's basically a layer of organic matter which consists of dead roots stems, grass, and leaves, which builds up between the leaves and the soil, creating the blockage where nutrients and essential moisture can’t penetrate the soil and reach the roots. The solution lies in the process of raking and removing mulch, a process called scarification. This process is also useful for monitoring the moss which will reduce the grasses ability to grow if undiscovered and untreated. Various conditions allow moss to develop - drought, high quantities of thatch, poor drainage, clay within the soil, shade - so removing it requires identifying and reducing the cause.
Keep an Eye on Drainage
Poor drainage can make your lawn waterlogged for days, and it can be caused either by poor landscaping or the soil's inability to absorb. If your lawn has dips which allow water to pool in one spot this can damage the roots and grass. If this is the case, you have three options - reshaping the area into a shallow, level slope, adding a selection of wet plants that thrive in water or fitting the drains and gutters which will direct excess rainfall away from the lawn. The soil’s ability to absorb can be decreased by compaction, thick areas of thatch, or high levels of clay. This may require changing the nature of the soil - through the use of suitable plants for the soil type or adjusting it with organic materials - but aeration can also do the trick depending on the extent of the problem.
As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider, but once you’re aware of these and can implement it into your own routine, your lawn maintenance should start to become a whole lot easier and satisfying. You need to have the right approach to watering, maintenance and correct use of the equipment, and the ability to recognize and eliminate weeds and other nasties, that will ultimately lead to the luscious green lawn that will be the pride and joy for you and your family.